Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Driverless Cars? Not Science Fiction Anymore!

What's the next big thing Siri?

So how would you feel about a 1/2 ton vehicle speeding down the highway at 65 miles an hour being driven by a computer?  After you get over the initial freak out, check out the stats.  Google has been testing a fleet of 12 "autonomous" (no pun intended) cars for several years, racking up 300,000 miles without an accident, making it safer than my own personal experiences driving around my little fender bender.  Does that mean folks can now text, eat their Big Macs, and apply eyeliner without crossing into my lane?  And will people maintain the speed limit as they pass a cop car sitting on the side of the road?  And will I not have to cringe while braking, watching the car in my rear view mirror hurtling toward my back bumper as the operator checks his email? And will folks not slow down to read those overhead signs on the highways causing mini traffic jams for no reason at all?  (Right there is a huge reason to improve reading instruction in schools).   If the answer is yes to any or all of those questions, where do I sign up?

That being said, leave it to California to write a bill regulating this whole advance in technology.  Do California legislators get some kind of bonus for sponsoring bills?  If the whole driverless car thing works, it will work, not because the government has a hand in it, but because it works.  To our elected officials - get out of the way and let technology run, or drive its course.

You can read a piece posted on the BBC website below:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Tech Please!

     It seems that everyone recognizes the need for more technology in schools. A LEAD Commission survey indicated 82% of teachers and 71% of parents said technology would be helpful to enhancing learning.  SO how do we translate that enthusiasm into actual funding? Ditching textbooks, expanding online learning, encouraging BYOD, leasing rather than buying technology, flipping classrooms, expecting local governments to set up broadband towers to reach into our poorer neighborhoods?  How about all of the above?
     While the above survey numbers are encouraging, check this one finding out.  Only 54% of teachers think technology will become much more important during the next 10 years.  Really?  And therein lies the problem.  If the folks running the show don't have a vision for what the future might hold, are they advocating for the changes that need to occur in our classrooms?  Heck no.  Too many of "us" are part of the problem, standing in the way of significant changes to our classrooms that still look pretty much the way they did 100 years ago.  Minus the whiteboard, of course.
     You can read the piece from Ed Week below.  You can also continue being the voice for your students, as most of them are not able to vote yet. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Research Results for iPod/iPad Rubric

Great news.  The initial results from my doctoral research have been complied and analyzed.  Ninety-four experts from around the world completed the first round survey designed to establish content and construct validity for the Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps being used in over 400 schools, universities, systems and agencies across the globe.  The first round survey results were very positive.  This first round sought to determine if the domains in the rubric were good indicators for determining app quality and if the wording in the score descriptors adequately differentiated the score points within each domain. Based on the first round survey, I constructed a second round that is now in the hands of these same experts for feedback.  After the second survey I may be ready to make revisions and in the near future report with a high degree of certainty that the field has a valid instrument for evaluating the quality of mobile applications. 

I have attached a Google Doc of two tables that summarize the data from the two most important questions that made up the first round survey.  In the near future, I will also post the second round survey results, as well as the revised and validated rubric when it is completed.

It have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with so many of you and thank you for your time and expertise as we continue to better understand the most effective ways to incorporate technology in our schools and lives.  Happy surfing.....

Friday, September 7, 2012

What's Hot for Back to School?

Do your students have the latest and greatest technology as they head back to school this year?  Check to this post on  Backpacks are transforming into "Powerbags", disks are dead and netbooks are going the way of the dinosaur.  Having a college age son, I was intrigued by the 2011 study by CourseSmart, an e-book seller.  Almost half of the respondents in the survey indicated they would be more likely to complete a reading assignment if it was in a digital format.  Having spent untold funds on ridiculously priced college textbooks that never get read, I'm all about e-texts for college.  My son purchased a tablet a week and a half ago and just finished just his second e-book.  While he is well read, in digital terms, he's never been a big fan of traditional books.  If our colleges and universities would just do away with their overpriced bookstores, maybe more college students would read those assigned texts.  Here is the piece from